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Exploring the World on a Budget


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Written by Chelsea Gonzales of Wonder Wherever We Wander.

One of the best parts of homeschooling is exploring the world with our kids. After all, not every parent has the unique opportunity to watch their children learn, grow, and experience all the amazing things the world has to offer.

Exploring the World on a Budget

We can do a lot of this exploring from our own homes. Many homeschoolers like to take full advantage of this fact by spending much of their time snuggled up on the couch or playing in the backyard. After all, it is called homeschooling.

Still, even those who are total homebodies know that it’s important for their kids to get out and about once in a while. And people with go, go, go personalities (like me!) can barely stand to stay home for more than a day or two at a time. Unfortunately, exploring the world isn’t always easy.

The most common problem homeschooling families run into? Money.

Going on field trips costs money, and the costs can add up quickly. All those super cool extracurriculars offered by the local museum? They’re not free. Admission to the nearby zoo? That’s going to cost a pretty penny as well.

Considering that most of us homeschoolers are single-income families, this can pose a real problem. Thankfully, most homeschooling parents figure out ways frugal options pretty quickly. However, if you’re new at this and are still looking for clever solutions, this article is for you!

So how can you help your kids explore the world without cutting into the grocery budget? Below are nine of the best ways to get your family out and about and enjoying the world beyond your home, all while keeping your money safe and sound within your wallet.

Memberships

If you have a limited amount to spend on field trips, one of the best ways to save money is investing in a membership of some sort. Most museums, zoos, theme parks, and other local attractions offer memberships. Often member benefits include reciprocal memberships, which allow members access to multiple attractions for free or at discounted rates.

homeschooling on a budget

Check out the museums, zoos, and aquariums near you and investigate their benefits to find the best bang for your buck.

Volunteer Work

Volunteer work is an excellent way to teach kids to give back to their communities. It’s also an excellent opportunity to celebrate the diversity in your community by meeting new people from all walks of life.

Every community has numerous volunteer opportunities, and best of all, it’s ultimately free to jump in and help. Your kids may even pick up some life skills along the way.

Co-Ops

Co-ops are an awesome option for homeschoolers. (Though many co-ops do charge fees so make sure you pay attention to the details.)

The type of budget-friendly co-op you’re looking for is one that requires every parent to teach a class or volunteer in some other way. That means you’ll you have to put in a bit of effort, but it’ll open up doors for your children to take new and exciting classes that you may not be able to offer on your own.

Don’t have a co-op like this in your area? Consider starting a homeschool co-op of your own!

Homeschool Groups

Of course, you could always go the more laid-back route and join a homeschool group. These groups often host “park days” and “craft days.” They may also offer group discounts on field trips and activities. They may even take advantage of volunteer opportunities as a group.

Homeschool groups are an awesome way to build strong friendships, often without spending a dime.

Camping

Nature exploration is a vital part of childhood. Encourage this exploration in your children and take a mini vacation while you’re at it by planning a camping trip. Camping is a fantastic family activity to enjoy at least a few times a year, and if you choose a state park, tent camping should be incredibly inexpensive.

frugal homeschooling tips

Library Events

Most local libraries host a variety of events. These are almost always free and are a great way to try new things. Also look for clubs that meet regularly at your local library. These may provide a way to build friendships and have a regular weekly outing that your kids can count on.

Bartering

Do you have a little dancer on your hands? Maybe your little one is set on doing karate? If your child has a particular interest in something that is far too expensive for your budget, consider making it happen through bartering.

You’d be surprised how many instructors are willing to work with parents, giving lessons in exchange for office work or janitorial services. Many teachers are especially happy to help out a particularly passionate student.

Online Classes

Another great way to learn a specific skill without spending a fortune is through online classes. There are many amazing online courses. Some even include private one-on-one tutoring for a fraction of the cost of traditional private lessons.

Try Outschool, TakeLessons, or Udemy for a variety of options. Or, look for instructors running their online courses such as Hoffman Academy or Aistear Irish Dance.

Exploring the World on a Budget

Festivals

Finally, seek out nearby festivals. Nearly every community puts on festivals in the warmer months, and if you’re willing to travel a bit, you’ll likely be able to find an awesome event every single week during spring, summer, and fall.

Festivals are the perfect opportunity to learn about different cultures, try new foods, and witness new art styles. Considering that so many of these events are free to enter, there’s no reason not to take advantage of them when you can.

Hopefully, some of these ideas will inspire you to think outside the box and find interesting ways to get your family out of the house on the cheap.

What tips would you add for exploring the world without breaking the bank?

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2 Comments

  1. On a little larger scale, you can literally explore the world on a budget by going on a short term mission trip to another country, or another culture (like a Native American reservation in America). Your kids will always remember it and it could even change their life direction! My husband and I took our 15 year old son to Thailand for 2 weeks last year and couldn’t believe how easy it was to raise the money for the trip. Our son still says he thinks about Thailand every day and is now considering being a full-time sports-ministry missionary. Just ask God to bring an opportunity at the right time, and to oversee all the details, and get ready for something amazing!

    1. Yes! My family and I go to Peru each summer on a 10-day mission trip, and it is always a blessing to us and to the people we work with and minister to in Peru. It’s not necessarily easy to raise the money, but it is definitely worth the work! (We do “mission lunches” throughout the year to raise money, and we do other kinds of fundraisers too.) We weren’t able to go this year because of Covid restrictions, but we pray that we’ll be able to go back soon.

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